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The Dow's Biggest Losers Last Week

By Matt Thalman – Mar 8, 2014 at 12:00PM

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An in-depth look at what caused a few stocks to fall.

After bracing for the possibility of war in Ukraine, and then navigating through several economic reports, the three major U.S. indexes all finished the week higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) climbed 128 points, or 0.78%, while the S&P 500 increased by 17 points, or 0.91%, and the Nasdaq rose by 22 points, or 0.51%.

But the Dow still had some individual stocks that didn't fare so well. Before we get to them, let's look at the week's biggest winner on the index. Goldman Sachs (GS 0.13%) rose 4.69%, enjoying an up week along with all of the Dow's other financial stocks. JPMorgan Chase rose 4.54% and American Express climbed 2.82%, enough to make them the index's second and third best performers. As for Goldman, Bloomberg reported last week that it was the top merger-and-acquisition advisor in 2013, taking in an estimated $1.23 billion in fees. This year may be another big one for deals, and it's likely that Goldman will be in the middle of a lot of them, collecting some more handsome fees as it does so.  

Last week's big losers
The week's third worst Dow performer was Verizon (VZ 0.47%), down 0.9%. The company authorized the repurchase of up to 100 million shares over the next three years, yet management also said buybacks are unlikely over the next two to three years, as the company needs to shore up its cash following the $130 billion purchase of Vodafone Group's stake in Verizon Wireless. If there's any good news here, it's that companies aren't very good at buying back their own stock and usually squander the money, so if there ends up being no buyback, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Since Verizon does offer a healthy 4.4% dividend yield, the company still returns cash to shareholders anyway, and in probably the best way possible.  

No. 2 this week is Microsoft (MSFT 1.26%), down 1.07% after the International Data Corporation forecast a higher-than-expected 6.1% drop in PC sales in 2014. IDC also now expects sales declines until 2018, after previously saying PC sales would fall just 1% in 2015 and level off after that. Microsoft is well diversified, though, so while this isn't great news for the maker of Windows, it's not devastating.  

Finally, the worst Dow stock of the week was ExxonMobil (XOM 0.49%), down 1.78%. The bulk of the drop came on Wednesday, when the company told investors it expects production for 2014 to be flat at around 4 million barrels of oil a day. Exxon plans to cut low-margin wells in an attempt to increase long-term profitability, so even though things might not look so good in the short term, this may be just what the stock needs to continue moving higher in the coming years. Patient investors may well be rewarded.  

The other Dow losers this week:

  • 3M, down 0.46%
  • Boeing, down 0.29%
  • Chevron, down 0.21%
  • Cisco, down 0.32%
  • Intel, down 0.48%
  • Procter & Gamble, down 0.35%
  • Visa, down 0.16%
  • Wal-Mart, down 0.16%

Matt Thalman owns shares of Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool recommends 3M, American Express, Chevron, Cisco Systems, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Procter & Gamble, and Visa and owns shares of Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Visa. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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